Top Ten

May 17, 2016

Sault planning $21.5 M campus rebuild

Sault College will reportedly undertake a $21.5 M campus rebuild project that will improve facilities, add new equipment, and reduce operating and maintenance costs for the college. Ontario has announced that it will invest $10.6 M into Sault’s E-Wing to provide students with a more modern and accessible learning environment complete with counselling and mental health support services, upgraded classrooms and computer labs, and an Academic Upgrading Centre. “This is an exciting opportunity to provide modern facilities that will reduce our carbon footprint through energy efficiencies,” said Sault President Ron Common, “and it will allow us to redevelop a space that our staff and students are proud of.” Sudbury Star | ON

Canada must better prepare grads for globalized careers, writes college director

“Today, our graduates are competing with their peers all over the world for the jobs of tomorrow,” writes Christa Ovenell, director and principal of Fraser International College, and Canada’s students will need to thrive in a globalized workforce if they wish to remain relevant in a 21st-century economy. Instead of trying to provide massive numbers of domestic students with international experience via study abroad, Ovenell suggests that Canada should focus more on attracting international students to a greater number of Canadian institutions. Despite the growing number of international students studying in Canada, Ovenell concludes, “those international students are densely concentrated at only a handful of institutions, resulting in a deficit of experience for the vast majority of our domestic students.” Vancouver Sun

UFV invests $1.5 M to support innovation in teaching and learning

The University of the Fraser Valley has announced that it will invest $1.5 M to create and support new initiatives in teaching and learning. According to a university release, the money will be used to create a learning innovation fund that will support faculty and staff in the creation, implementation, and evaluation of new approaches to teaching and learning while funding the renovation and equipping of new facilities. “The learning and teaching environment is changing rapidly due to technological development and our increased understanding of the way people learn,” said UFV Provost and Vice-President, Academic Eric Davis, “this investment will help our faculty wishing to employ even more progressive and exciting ways of teaching.” UFV

uSask should revise agreement to ensure freedom of speech at Chinese partner’s institute, says report

An internal report has recommended that the University of Saskatchewan revise its agreement with the Beijing Institute of Technology to ensure that BIT’s Confucius Institute based at uSask’s campus supports academic freedom, reports the StarPhoenix. The report, which is slated for discussion this week, warns that Confucius Institutes “advance a Chinese national state agenda in recruitment and control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum and in the restriction of debate on politically sensitive topics.” The report also recommends that the revised agreement include “explicit statement(s) that academic freedom is a fundamental principle to be supported in all facets of the institute’s activities.” However, investigators also note that there is “no evidence” to suggest that the presence of the Confucius Institute on campus has compromised academic freedom to date. StarPhoenix

New graduates must “manage expectations” during tough times, writes SAIT VP

“Our role as educators is to help all students take a longer term view,” writes SAIT Vice President Academic Brad Donaldson, “we need to help them understand the world they face after graduation will be different than today.” Donaldson highlights Alberta’s economic downturn to suggest that today’s students need to re-adjust their expectations according to a changing economic reality. In today’s world, he notes, “students should be encouraged to find a job—any job—in their chosen industry and work their way up through the field.” Donaldson concludes that regardless of changes, students will be able to rely on “the entrepreneurial spirit and bold thinking that's seen our province buck up and emerge from tough times before—better, stronger and smarter.” CBC

Unintentional age biases may discourage tomorrow’s postsecondary leaders

“With millennials making up half of the workforce in 2015, we may be overdue to begin thinking intentionally about making space for the thoughts and ideas of everyone in our organizations, including our younger colleagues,” write Joshua Kim and Morgan Matthews for EdSurge. Kim and Matthews explore the costs that an unintentional bias against younger colleagues can have for colleges and universities, and explain that “failing to meet basic requirements of inclusion … will quickly discourage tomorrow's potential postsecondary leaders from contemplating careers in our industry.” They explain that this problem can be prevented by paying more attention to who is being permitted to discuss their ideas and freely innovate, and who is not. EdSurge

CBU officially opens new $17 M wind farm

Cape Breton University has officially opened a wind farm that is slated to begin producing power by mid-January of 2017. The project has reportedly cost CBU $17 M, but the university has signed a 20-year contract with Nova Scotia that will see CBU earn $2.1 M in annual revenue from the power it sells to the province. This new initiative “sends a signal to the world what's possible,” according to CBU President David Wheeler, “we're going to need a lot more of these kinds of projects in a carbon-constrained world.” CBC

How to create a diversity agenda that gets results

Efforts to increase diversity at PSE institutions have been going on for at least half a century, writes Beth McMurtrie for the Chronicle of Higher Education, yet many of these efforts have met with little success. To this end, McMurtrie offers a set of recommendations that aim to help schools implement a successful diversity agenda, which include: taking ownership of efforts and results, engaging faculty and students, and operating with the clear understanding that fostering diversity is hard work that involves difficult, ongoing conversations.  Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Northern College, Algoma sign new international diploma-to-degree agreement

Northern College and Algoma University have signed a Memorandum of Agreement that aims to provide International students with the opportunity to transfer seamlessly from a completed Northern diploma program offered in China to a degree program in Ontario at Algoma. According to a Northern release, the agreement will build on an existing Joint Admissions Agreement that that will reduce the time, cost, and other barriers that make it difficult to transfer to a degree program. Northern President Fred Gibbons commented that“this agreement represents a natural extension of the productive partnership we have been able to develop with Algoma University given our mutually shared goal of increasing student access to a quality post-secondary education.” Northern

A packing list for academic conference season

Tara Siebarth provides a thorough packing list for the upcoming academic conference season. On top of the obvious toiletries and clothing items, Siebarth recommends that conference goers pack a few items that might otherwise go forgotten, including “comfortable shoes that can be considered ‘nice,’” a cardigan or sweater for seminars in cold university rooms, and a small purse or canvas bag for carrying items around at the conference. Jennifer Polk of PhD to Life recommends that any travelling students also take business cards with them, adding that “if they can’t or don’t want to get university-branded ones, they can fairly cheaply get nice ones made for themselves.” University Affairs